Diego Fagundez secondary 2017
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Fagundez embracing role as playmaker: “I like creating chances for other players”

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Diego Fagundez wants to score a goal, he just doesn’t need to score a goal.

Nine games into the 2017 season the 22-year-old attacker is still in search of that elusive first tally, but a lack of goals has not prevented Fagundez from being one of the New England Revolution’s most dangerous players through the first two months of the campaign.

Playing primarily as a winger but also finding minutes in a withdrawn role behind the forwards, Fagundez has a team-leading three assists for the Revolution, and he’s created a total of six chances while passing at better than an 80 percent clip (tops amongst New England’s attackers).

“Diego has been great,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “His touch count is up, the way he’s playing is up. He’s energetic on both sides of the ball.

“I don’t care if he scores a goal or creates the assist; I just want him creating goals. We talk about that all the time; if Diego had two goals and 15 assists, that’s just as good.”

Fagundez has never finished a season with more assists than goals (he had six goals and six assists last year), but he’d be just fine if his primary role in 2017 became chance creator. In addition to his three assists, Fagundez has contributed to two other goals this year with an entry-level pass in Seattle and a drawn penalty against Minnesota.

There’s also a sense that Fagundez is on the verge of that first goal. His nine shots on target lead the team in that category, and it’s taken spectacular saves from David Bingham, Bill Hamid and Stefan Frei to prevent Fagundez from getting on the board in the past three games.

When that goal does arrive Fagundez will be off the mark in 2017, but in many respects, he’s already well on his way to a successful season.

“I’ve always said if I can get a goal, my confidence boosts,” Fagundez said. “But right now, I think I’m playing well. I just have to keep doing what I’ve been doing. I have to keep driving on players and trying to go one-on-one with them.

“I like creating chances for other players, so if I can keep doing this and they keep finishing, I’ll be happy with what I’m doing.”

“We’ve got to keep Diego playing the way he’s playing; not pressing, just playing his game and still looking for other options,” added Heaps. “There are opportunities now where if he crosses it a little more, he’ll have more opportunity to shoot.”